I wasn’t ready for her appearance and it shocked me. I jerked back on Stonewall’s reins, which I know he didn’t appreciate one bit. (No pun intended) My faithful steed stopped in his tracks and whinnied his disdain for my barbaric tactics. I didn’t have time to say I’m sorry.
She moved so quickly that one second, she was ten yards from me and the next, she was standing to the right side of me with her hands on my brogans and looking up at me with her mesmerizing gaze.
“Why have you persisted in putting yourself in danger? You had many chances to extricate yourself from this senseless conflict.”
I was stung by her question and statement. My anger surged to the forefront. I bent over until my face was about two inches above her lovely forehead and hissed through gritted teeth, “Your so-called civilization put me here against my will. I made do with what I knew beforehand, and I evolved with the situations that were presented. Don’t give me any self-righteous alien clap-trap!”
My vehemence surprised her. She actually took a step backwards and looked at me with a hurt expression. I straightened in my saddle. Stonewall turned and looked at San Cirr Ray and whinnied as if to add, “See what you made him do to me?”
My color was still up, as we say in the South, so I added in a quiet but firm voice, “Now, I would appreciate it if you would get out of here, keep out of the coming battle, and let nature take its course.”
She let her hands drop to her side with a sense of hopelessness and looked dejectedly at the ground. Her hood had fallen to her shoulders, when she moved close to me, revealing her beautiful elven features. I have to admit that at one time I was drawn to her splendor. But, no more. For the first time in many months, I was angry with my predicament. I was being used as a pawn in the aliens’ game. I didn’t know their rules or their goals and, since this female had been assigned to my dilemma, I had been treated as her private boy toy.
I was fed up. I just wanted her and her whole species to leave me alone.
Nudging Stonewall with my knees, I looked straight ahead and rode toward South Mountain with a determination that, if I lived through this campaign, I would make the aliens pay for Shanghai-ing me.